In Saga Cruises BDF Limited v Fincantieri SPA  EWHC 1875, the English High Court held that two delays which occurred within the same time period are not necessarily “concurrent” in the legal sense of the word. One must bear in mind the orthodox rules of causation to determine whether each delay had an actual impact on the completion date.
In 2010, Saga Shipping (Owners) purchased a cruise ship and engaged Fincantieri, an Italian shipbuilding company (Contractor), to refurbish the ship for €14.3 million.
The contract contained a clause imposing liquidated damages on the Contractor for delay in completing the works by the Scheduled Completion Dateas follows:-
“Amount of liquidated damages. If the completion of the Works is delayed beyond 23.59 GMT on the Scheduled Completion Date (as adjusted pursuant to this Agreement) for any reason whatsoever for which the Contractor is, or its employees, agents or sub-contractors are, responsible, the Contractor shall pay to the Owner liquidated damages …”
Liquidated damages were capped at €770,000.
The works were scheduled to be completed by an extended Scheduled Completion Date of 2 March 2012. The Contractor did not achieve Completion until 16 March 2012. The Owners claimed €770,000 in liquidated damages for the Contractor's delay between the extended Scheduled Completion Date (2 March 2012) and Completion (16 March 2012).
The Court found that:-
Was there concurrent delay?
One of the main issues before the court was whether any or all periods of delay for which the Contractor was found responsible were also the fault of the Owners and therefore concurrently caused.
The Contractor argued that where completion is delayed by two events concurrently, one for which the Contractor was responsible and the other for which the Owners were responsible (as in this case), no liability for liquidated damages arose, as the Contractors were entitled to an extension of time for the period of delay not accountable to them, notwithstanding the concurrent effect of the other event.
The Owners argued that the delays were not concurrent. They argued that if completion was already delayed for reasons for which the Contractor was responsible, then delays for which the Owners were responsible were not examples of concurrent delay and did not give rise to any entitlement to an extension of time by the Contractor because they did not in fact cause any delay to completion.
The Court’s Decision
The Court reviewed a long line of cases on the topic of concurrent delays and concluded that the most useful synthesis of the issue of concurrent delay in the context of extensions of time is the analysis of Hamblen J (as he then was) in Adyard Adyard Abu Dhabi v SD Marine Services  EWHC 848 (Comm)